Five Things I'm Loving Now--May 2019

Jeez, I just about missed May altogether, didn’t I? My month started out pretty rough, with an upper respiratory infection that kept me away from work for the better part of a week. I have to admit, I wasn’t loving too much for the first 10-12 days of May. But, I’m firmly back on track now and decided that this month would be mostly about love of things local to the Happy Valley area, a couple of which are new or new to me, and a few that, should you try them, might bring a little extra enjoyment to your summer in Centre County.

First up, the array of choices we have in Farmer’s Markets! We personally subscribe to a farm share, but we are so grateful to be able to take advantage of the many additional products that are available to us by visiting the local Farmer’s Markets. Most if not all of our local markets are producer-only markets, so you are dealing with the actual people who planted, grew, harvested or made the products you buy. I hope I haven’t missed any in this listing, but here’s what you have to choose from in the local area: Tuesdays - Downtown State College (Locust Lane) 11:30-5:30 and Boalsburg (Miltary Museum grounds) 2:00-6:00; Thursdays - Pine Grove Mills (St. Paul Lutheran Church) 3:00-7:00; Fridays - Downtown State College (Locust Lane) 11:30-5:30; and Saturdays - Bellefonte (Gamble Mill Parking Lot) 8:00-noon; Millheim (American Legion Pavilion) 10:00-1:00, North Atherton (Home Depot parking lot) 10:00-2:00. You may go to the market just looking for produce, but I’m betting you’ll come away with a lot more—maybe having had a friendly conversation or two, a sense of community, and the good feeling of supporting the hard work of a local farm family.

Next a little love for a store I’d heard about but never visited until recently. Helen Foxx and Co. is a sweet little boutique on Allegheny Street in Bellefonte. Owner Joyce Mills will tell you—and I believe she sincerely means it—that her goal is to make every woman feel beautiful. I loved her warmth and sincerity, her recommendations for things to try on, and her honest feedback about what looked great, and what was on the “hmmm, maybe not” list. With hand-selected fashions that are stylish but not over the top trendy and the best customer service I’ve experienced in a long time, I highly recommend that my lady friends (or your loved one who may be shopping for you), pay a visit to Helen Foxx and Co. I came away from my first visit with a special occasion outfit, and on a return trip, a couple of really fun pieces that will add a much-needed lift to my summer work wardrobe. They also have a nice selection of gently used clothing, including shoes and accessories, and they cater to a good range of sizes and tastes—so check them out!

Third, I have to talk about the Barn at Lemont that’s not too far from where I live. This barn has been through several iterations of retail—all of which we have tried to support to the best of our needs/abilities, but we are hoping that the current situation sticks around for awhile. Upstairs, you’ll find Maine Bay & Berry Co. purveyors of fresh fish, seafood, and gourmet specialty products, as well as the Countryside Butcher, operated by Victor and Gina Woskob, with delicious, locally-raised beef. Maine Bay & Berry also offers its delicious soups on the premises pretty much throughout their open hours, and they’ve recently started serving prepared items (crab cake, lobster roll, salmon filet burger) during limited hours. What an enjoyable Saturday afternoon we had last weekend, noshing on their great food while sipping an IPA from the downstairs tenant, Voodoo Brewery, overlooking Slab Cabin Run and the bike path. We’re happy to have these fine folks in our neighborhood!

Bringing me to numbers four and five — you know, if I’m going to have nice new clothes and eat delicious food and enjoy tasty beverages, I’ve got to keep moving. It’s all about balance, right? So, there are two things I want to mention this month that I love for my active life.

The Lotta Breeze Capri is crazy-functional in almost any season, for any reason! If you shop Skirtsports, use code SSA489Joy as the coupon code at checkout for a 15 percent discount on regularly-priced merchandise!

The Lotta Breeze Capri is crazy-functional in almost any season, for any reason! If you shop Skirtsports, use code SSA489Joy as the coupon code at checkout for a 15 percent discount on regularly-priced merchandise!

Number 4 on my list this month is the Lotta Breeze Capri from Skirtsports. With the probable exception of this week, May has been one of those months where the mornings have been cool, and being a morning runner/exerciser, this affects me. While I love so many of Skirtsports’ products, I’m going to say that the Lotta Breeze Capri (LBC) is a true favorite—especially the newest patterns. The reason I’ll distinguish between the newest patterns and the “older” models is that the current season has two additional features that I think have taken this product to a whole ‘notha level. 1) a continuous drawcord to prevent any slippage; and 2) “baller” pockets on the legs, giving you an opening at both the top and bottom of the let pocket area. On dog walks, I can tuck treats or poo bags into the bottom opening, keeping the top openings free for my phone, ID and/or car keys. These skirts have a meshy capri, topped with a cute skirt that’s just the right length. It keeps my butt covered and has just the right amount of sway to feel feminine. I love the LBC for both the gym and for runs on those cool mornings (which we may have seen the last of for awhile).


Finally, on those morning runs, I have finally—after how many years—solved my headphone problem. Well, I guess technology advanced, and I took advantage of it. My biggest complaints about headphones worn for exercise—inside OR outside—have always been the inability to keep them in place once I start sweating (because I sweat a lot), and that they block out other sounds to the point that I didn’t always feel safe running outside, out of fear I wouldn’t hear traffic, other runners on the sidewalk, or even the pleasure of hearing the birds singing. Trekz Air from Aftershokz has solved both of these problems, with their wireless “bone conduction” headphone. My ear is clear, so I can still hear what’s going on around me, but I can hear my Aaptiv trainer or my music too! No slipping due to sweat, great sound, a 6-hour battery, and if I have to, I can even take a call. I squirmed just a little at the $149 price tag, but they do have a 2-year warranty, and honestly I feel like I’ve already gotten my money out of them because I wear them almost every single day, either for exercise, or listening to podcasts or audio books.

I hope you’ve had a great May and I will be back sometime in June with five more things that are making my Happy Valley Healthy life just a little bit sweeter. Bye!

Learning from Consistency

I remember thinking to myself sometime in the fall of 2018, in anticipation of our trip to Italy over the end-of-year holidays, that I would try to string together a regular habit of workouts for 6 days a week, so that I would be in good shape for the amount of walking I expected to do on our trip. Well—week one I started off with a bang, went four days and then felt like I needed a rest. One day of rest can’t hurt, right? But one turned into two, and then it was the weekend and there were other things to do, so I set my sights on the next week. You know what happened, right? Yeah. I exercised about twice a week for the majority of the fall and early winter.

So, the trip to Italy came and went, and fortunately my baseline fitness level was more than adequate to get me through the average of 10 walking miles a day. But when we got back, I had a talk with myself and made several conclusions based on my physical condition:

  • First, while I love going to Orange Theory to work out, I feel incapable at this time of maintaining more than a twice a week schedule there because of the intensity I put into it.

  • Secondly, I need to keep changing things up so that I don’t get bored.

  • Finally, I need to not hurt myself. I’ve been down that road. It sucks.

The solution I chose to meet my needs was this:

  • I joined the fitness center at my place of employment.

  • I am maintaining my 9 times per month membership at my local Orange Theory Fitness studio.

  • I purchased a subscription to the Aaptiv app at the recommendation of a friend.

I’m proud to say that for the past 13 weeks, I have used Aaptiv at least twice a week every week. I’ve missed a couple of Orange Theory workouts due to travel or illness. I’ve stayed healthy. And yet I felt like I needed another push.

Wilbur says “if you’re on my level, then we play by MY rules!”

Wilbur says “if you’re on my level, then we play by MY rules!”

Out of the blue on March 1, one of my Skirt Ambassador sisters (brand champions for Skirt Sports clothing), posted a challenge called Moving in March. The challenge: To move every day in the month of March—intentional movement above and beyond one’s normal daytime activity. Something inside me clicked. I could do this. I WILL do this. And the way I chose to affirm that commitment was on my Instagram and Facebook page, by documenting my workouts every day during the month of March. The standard I held myself to was for at least 30 minutes of dedicated physical activity every day.


The right gear is part of the secret!

Toasty Vest, Toasty Cheeks Skirt, Toasty Tights, and Tough Chick Top.

What happened and what did I learn?

  • I’m stronger than I thought I was.

  • I’m sleeping better.

  • By far, the biggest hurdle is just getting out of bed in the morning. Don’t lay there. Get up.

  • My energy level is better throughout my workday.

  • My mood is better.

  • My posture has improved.

  • My clothes are fitting better.

  • My performance in both running and rowing is slowly but surely getting stronger.

  • I feel more confident.

When April 1 rolled around, I’ll admit that not feeling an obligation to post my workout every day was something of a relief, but the stretch of activity was just what I needed to experience the benefits of consistency. So what happens next? Well, so far I’ve just kept moving! Then last night, I got an unexpected bonus for that month’s worth of activity accountability. The names of all the Skirt Ambassadors who posted every day about their workouts throughout the month of March were put into a drawing for a $75 gift certificate from Skirt Sports, and I was the lucky winner! Cha-Ching!! Now I’ll not only keep moving, but I’ll be moving with more style! Honestly, the most fun part about posting my workouts was that I feel so good wearing Skirt Sports clothes that I didn’t mind posting goofy pictures of myself! If you’ve read this far and never checked Skirt Sports out, do it now: and use my discount code SSA489Joy to save 15 percent on a regularly-priced item. Then, just get moving—as much as you can, as often as you can. I promise, consistency makes a difference!